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Silicon Valley Employment Law Blog

Fire engineer files wrongful termination lawsuit

When an employee in California or anywhere around the country discovers unethical or illegal practices in the workplace, there is often a sense of obligation to make authorities aware of the situation. Reporting unethical or illegal activities should be accomplished without fear or reprisal. However, an engineer for the Five Cities Fire Authority recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit when he was terminated after reporting several labor violations.

The fire engineer claims that he learned his employer had not adequately paid into the organization's retirement system. He stated that although he had been hired as a part-time employee, he had worked full-time hours, as it pertains to the retirement statues in California. According to the statues, anyone working over 1,000 hours should be receiving benefits in the California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS. The engineer evidently made his management aware that many employees were working over 1,000 hours per year, yet were not receiving the benefits to which they were entitled.

Employment discrimination suit filed against health system

A man in another state recently claimed that he was mistreated at work on the basis of his age. He has therefore filed a lawsuit against his former employer, a health system. Likewise, any employees in California who believe that they have experienced age-based employment discrimination can seek justice through the civil court system.

The man who filed the recent class-action suit is 67 years old. According to his suit, which he filed in early July, the health system targeted workers who were 40 years old and older during its elimination of about 400 management roles in June of 2017. The man asserted that more than 86 percent of the employees who were terminated were above the age of 40 despite the fact that such managers constituted more than 80 percent of the company's manager workforce.

Woman files wrongful termination suit against health department

A woman who used to work at a health department in another state recently claimed that the department terminated her after she reported issues within the organization. She has thus decided to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the department, seeking $50,000. Anyone in California who is unfairly fired from his or her job may likewise take legal action against his or her employer.

In the recent out-of-state case, the woman claimed that in 2016 and 2017, she knew about her health department's operations, including the issues that it was having. She therefore reported these issues, which included financial problems, to the department's senior leadership. The reporting of these issues allegedly led to the woman's firing.

Employment discrimination suit filed against media company

A man recently claimed that a progressive media and news company for which he used to work discriminated against him due to his being black. As a result, the man has filed a lawsuit against the company, called The Young Turks. Anyone in California who experiences this type of employment discrimination can likewise take legal action against their employers.

According to the recently filed lawsuit, the man, who worked as a journalist for the media company starting in 2017, noticed that the company was holding him to a completely different standard compared with this white co-workers. In addition, he claimed that his manager mistreated him. The man asserted that, when he complained about the mistreatment, he was essentially told that doing so was an offense for which he could be fired.

California employment laws address pay, overtime and breaks

Hour and wage laws in California address the different kinds of leave that employees can take as well as the state's minimum wage requirements. These laws also cover breaks, overtime and meals. Understanding these employment laws can help workers in the Golden State to ensure that their rights are not being infringed upon when they punch the clock each day.

In California, the minimum wage is $11. Also, when it comes to mealtimes, employees in California have to be given breaks from all of their duties for a period of 30 minutes. During their 30-minute lunch periods, employers must allow them to leave their workplaces. Unpaid meal periods are required for any worker who works over five consecutive hours.

Wrongful termination suit filed against university settled

A man in another state was let go from his university athletic trainer job back in 2016 after he reportedly urinated in a whirlpool. The firing drove him to file a wrongful termination lawsuit, which was recently settled. Anyone in California who likewise experiences alleged wrongful termination has the right to seek justice through the civil court system.

In the out-of-state case, the man who filed the lawsuit claimed that he had to urinate in a whirlpool in the university's training room due to a medical condition. Specifically, doctors had diagnosed him as having a prostate that had become enlarged, along with a separate medical condition. These issues apparently caused the man to have to use the restroom frequently.

Employment discrimination suit filed against Volkswagen

An employee in another state recently claimed that he was discriminated against on the basis of his age. He has thus filed a lawsuit against his employer, Volkswagen. Any employee who experiences employment discrimination in California can likewise seek justice through the civil court system.

In the recent out-of-state case, the man who filed the lawsuit asserted that his employer -- a Volkswagen automobile plant -- is using its rebranding efforts as an opportunity to engage in discrimination against employees 50 years old or older. The man himself is 60 years old. He formerly served as a supervisor at the plant before receiving a demotion in 2017.

Former assistant track coach files employment discrimination suit

A former assistant track coach at a university in another state recently claimed that he was discriminated against on the basis of race. The man, who is African American, has thus decided to file a lawsuit against multiple parties, including the university curator board, track head coach and the head coach's supervisor. Anyone in California who experiences employment discrimination likewise has the right to seek justice in civil court.

According to the former coach, the parties he has sued constantly exhibited demeaning and discriminatory behavior to African-American staff members and athletes, including him. The man began his career at the university back in 2013 and was the sole African-American person on staff from 2014 to 2016. However, from the very first day of his employment there, he was reportedly mistreated.

Payment dispute may occur if non-working employee receives no pay

In certain jobs, employees in California and elsewhere might be entitled to be paid even for moments when they are not necessarily working. After all, employers generally must pay their employees for time spent under their control. If an employer allegedly fails to do this, a payment dispute may understandably ensue, and the reportedly wronged employee has the right to seek to hold his or her employer accountable for its actions.

For instance, if employees work at jobs or in businesses that require them to complete 24-hour shifts, they are typically given time to sleep during their shifts. According to federal law, these employees must be paid for their entire shifts even if they spend a few hours of their shifts sleeping. Examples of employees who fall under this category include full-time ambulance drivers, guards and caregivers.

Wrongful termination can happen for a variety of reasons

Being terminated can understandably be one of the most humiliating experiences a person may have. However, in some cases, wrongful termination happens. In these cases, employees in California have the right to seek justice.

In some cases involving wrongful termination, employers terminate employees based on disability, pregnancy, age, religion, national origin, gender or race. All of these are, of course, protected under law. Other termination cases involve employers who fire workers in retaliation for something that the workers have done. For instance, perhaps the workers spoke up about something unethical or illegal that the company has done. Likewise, an employer may demand that an employee commit an illegal act and then terminate the employee if he or she decides not to do so.

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